Oscar De Marcos was one of the heroes for Athletic in their 3-2 win over Panathinaikos. After going behind 2-0, the Lions were able to score three late goals to steal the victory in Greece and it was De Marcos’ volley that tied the game in the 71st minute. Afterwards, he spoke with reporters about the match saying that it was a complicated game against a strong opponent. The right-back believes that the defense played poorly but Aritz Aduriz’s first goal gave the Basques the energy to complete the comeback.
“It was a very complicated game. Our defensive performance cost us. We did not keep our lines close together and they were able to create danger. We did not know how to best defend their attacks, whether to play higher or lower. In addition, when you surrender a goal it creates anxiety so some push forward while others want to stay back. Aduriz’s goal changed the game. They collapsed and we had all the energy. In six minutes we turned it around. We know we have to improve somethings, but it feels better when the result ends in your favor.”
When asked about his volley that tied the game at 2-2, De Marcos praised Mikel Balenziaga for putting in a strong cross. The 28-year-old said that he just happened to be in the right position to score because he had pushed up in hopes of helping the team draw level.
“It was a great cross from Balenziaga. I was in position because I had gone up to try to help get a second goal. I was able to be in the right place and I caught the ball well. For me it was the weakest performance so far this season. The result was good and we were able to win away from home, but the team was not quite right. We have to improve because Sunday Getafe are coming and we want to start the League well.”
Fans are certainly excited about the return leg which will take place at the San Mamés next Thursday, but first the Lions will be kicking off the new La Liga season on Sunday. Athletic will host newly promoted Getafe in Bilbao and will be looking to get off to a strong start in their domestic campaign. Including the 3-2 win over Panathinaikos, Athletic will be playing four games in eleven days so Kuko Ziganda will have to find creative ways to rotate his squad and it will be something interesting to keep an eye on.